It doesn't seem likely, given the state of contemporary action filmmaking, that another Die Hard is going to come along anytime soon. But what is fair to expect from its third sequel in twenty years, Live Free Or Die Hard?
Twelve years ago, I cajoled my parents and my ladyfriend at the time into seeing Die Hard With A Vengeance opening night. The excitement had been building for months, starting with the fragment of commercial that John Jordan videotaped during that year's Super Bowl broadcast. After all that, it was perfectly clear in the movie's opening minutes that it was not going to be good. It remains the most disappointed I've ever been by a movie.
Afterwards, my parents and ladyfriend tried focusing on the positive ("there were some nice explosions," "some of it was funny"), I'm pretty sure for my sake. We all knew the truth, though.
I might actually be more excited now for part four that I was for part three. The film does not even have to approach the ridiculous, giddy excitement of Die Hard 2: Die Harder to be a success; it just has to improve upon the turgid and senseless Die Hard With A Vengeance. It's a low bar to clear, but 20th Century Fox has gamely handicapped itself by having Len Wiseman direct the film, and also having it cut to PG-13 standards.
These early reviews are well thought out, and mainly promising. Manohla Dargis, Stephanie Zacharek, and Peter Travers (of the New York Times, Salon.com, and Rolling Stone, respectively) are all relatively enthusiastic about it. Rob Nelson, of the City Pages, alas, did not care for it.
If you want to read these reviews:
Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com
Rob Nelson, City Pages